Only in the playoffs do we get implausible story lines like this: “Jamal Crawford throws down gauntlet!”
There was some pretty funny stuff at this morning’’s shoot-arounds for tonight’s playoff game between the Hawks and Chicago. It won’t quite reach the grease-fire level of Jameer Nelson’s “Catch you in the second round” comment before the Orlando series, but apparently Crawford is public enemy No. 1 in Chicago.
Several Chicago media members (mostly television) asked Bulls players to respond to Crawford’s comments’ following the Hawks’ game two loss, which began with: “If that’s their best shot, we’re in good shape.” Crawford’s entire quote in context wasn’t nearly that strong. But a few Bulls players were baited into responding.
♦ Carlos Boozer: “Is that what he said? He has the right to his opinion. I’m not into talking in the papers. I’m more [do the ] walking on the court kind of guy. We’ll see him tonight.”
♦ Derrick Rose: “That’s his opinion. To us, that wasn’t our best game of the postseason. That wasn’t our best game at all.”
The funny thing about this is anyone who knows Crawford also knows that he’s the last guy who would engage in any smack-talking or provide bulletin board material. When media members descended on him after the Hawks’ workout, he smiled and quickly tried to defuse the bomb.
“It’s the playoffs — everything is magnified,” he said. “But the whole conversation was that it was a must-win game for them. They were at home. It was the MVP celebration [for Derrick Rose]. So they had everything working in their favor and we still had a chance to win, even though we didn’t play well. It wasn’t like I was saying I don’t respect them. That would be foolish of me. They had 18 more wins than we did. We just feel like they came out with their best effort and we didn’t play that good and we still had a chance to win. So I feel like we’ll be OK.”
For what it’s worth, Crawford was right: The Bulls were desperate to win after losing the series opener at home and weren’t all that impressive in game two. This suddenly looks like a winnable series for the Hawks, which didn’t seem possible without Kirk Hinrich.
By Jeff Schultz